The Boko Haram Islamist sect on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack on a multinational military base in Baga, Borno State, during which about 2,000 people were killed on January 3, this year.
The sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a new video on You tube also taunted Presidents Paul Biya of Cameroon, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and Idris Deby of Chad.
He also expressed disdain for President Goodluck Jonathan, and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the February 14 presidential election, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), describing them as infidels.
Shekau, who spoke in Hausa said, “Jonathan, you are in trouble. And Buhari, do you think he is a true Muslim? He’s an infidel.”
The insurgents, who invaded Baga early this year, razed many buildings and homes in the week that followed, shooting civilians as they tried to flee, witnesses said.
Some local officials put the death toll as high as 2,000, although the military said it was 150.
The video was in the trademark Boko Haram style, with the bearded man claiming to be Shekau in combat fatigues and surrounded by masked gunmen.
“We are the ones that carried out the attack and it is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more coming,” he said.
On the weapons the insurgents seized from Baga, he said they were enough to annihilate Nigeria.
Soldiers fled the area after the nearby army base, which is the headquarters of a multinational force comprising troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon, by Lake Chad was overrun. Chad and Cameroon are being drawn into the fight against Boko Haram, but mistrust has hampered cooperation.
Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has condemned the escalation of “appalling levels of violence” in the North-East and warned that she would prosecute members of any party responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bensouda said her office had continued a preliminary examination into allegations that Boko Haram extremists were killing large numbers of civilians, using girls and boys to participate in the conflict and forcing massive numbers of people from their homes.
She also warned the Federal Government of its obligation to prosecute crimes that “deeply shock the conscience of humanity.
“No one should doubt my resolve, if need be, to prosecute those individuals most responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity,” Bensouda said in a statement from the court’s headquarters in The Hague on Tuesday.
Boko Haram has increased the ferocity and tempo of its attacks in recent weeks, with international outrage over reports that as many as 2,000 civilians may have been systematically slaughtered in the January 3, 2015 attack on Baga town and the military base at the border with Cameroon.
The sect had also increased attacks on Cameroon, raising fears that the conflict was spreading and prompting the country to deploy troops to defend its borders with Nigeria.
Niger’s Foreign Minister, Bazoum Mohamed, told a meeting on Tuesday of the Economic Community of West African States to discuss a collective response to Boko Haram, saying that the Islamic militants are no longer a Nigerian problem but they threaten the security of the region.